- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Frostbitten pelicans recuperate in Delaware

Fourteen frostbitten pelicans are recuperating at a Delaware bird rehabilitation center after staying too long in the Chesapeake Bay and suffering injuries from the February cold snap, the center’s director said yesterday.

As many as 11 other brown pelicans were euthanized after the birds were plucked from icy waters in Maryland and Virginia, rescue workers said.

The mostly immature birds mainly suffered damage to their feet, said Chris Motoyoshi, executive director of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Newark.

The birds were rescued from icy waters in Southern Maryland and Eastern Virginia near the mouths of the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, Di Conger, operator of a wildlife center in Thurmont, Md., told the Frederick News-Post.

Miss Motoyoshi said the birds may have failed to migrate because of the unusually warm midwinter weather. They were rescued about two weeks ago and needed veterinary care that wasn’t immediately available in Virginia, she said.

The pelicans will stay at the Delaware facility for a couple of weeks to several months, depending on whether they are healthy enough to be moved to a center farther south.

She said veterinarians treating the birds decided which ones were so badly damaged they couldn’t survive in the wild.


Realtors give $1 million for MLK memorial

The National Association of Realtors announced a $1 million donation yesterday to help build a memorial to Martin Luther King on the Mall.

The gift brings the fundraising total to $78 million of the $100 million needed to build and maintain the memorial, officials said. More than 26 corporations have given $1 million or more to the project.

February, which is Black History Month, has been the biggest month for donations over the past three years, said Harry Johnson, president and chief executive of the memorial’s foundation. He wants regular citizens to help complete the fundraising effort by the end of the year.

Silver Spring-based TV One recently announced it is helping to raise funds by donating air time for promotions, and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has challenged all city residents to donate $2 to the memorial fund.

The memorial is scheduled to open in 2008 on the banks of the Tidal Basin, facing the Jefferson Memorial.

Whitehurst ramp closed this weekend

The Whitehurst Freeway ramp leading to the Interstate 66 East exit will be closed for preventative maintenance and emergency repair starting Friday, the D.C. Department of Transportation said.

Crews will begin work at 7 p.m. Friday, with construction scheduled to be completed by 5 a.m. Monday, in time for the morning rush hour.

The current detour plan for vehicles traveling this route is to proceed west on Whitehurst Freeway, right onto 27th Street, left onto I Street and then back to the freeway.

The ramp closure and work is weather permitting.



Man, dog die from heater fumes

Blockage in a heating unit led to the death of a man and his dog from carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said.

Robert L. Jackson, 50, and the dog were found dead Monday in their home, where a high level of carbon monoxide was present, the Cecil County sheriff’s office said.

Mr. Jackson’s 6-year-old daughter, Hannah, was rushed to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore for treatment.

Investigators think the deaths were an accident, and neither foul play nor suicide are suspected, sheriff’s spokesman Detective Sgt. Bernard Chiominto said.

The girl was conscious and in stable condition yesterday, Sgt. Chiominto said.


Man denied bail in fatal bat attack

A Howard County judge denied bail yesterday for a young man charged with murder after hitting another man with a baseball bat during a fight.

District Judge Neil Axel said the risk that Kevin Klink, 18, might flee affected his decision. The charges are also reason for Mr. Klink to be held without bail, Judge Axel said.

Mr. Klink is charged with first- and second-degree murder and assault charges in the death of Robert Brazell, 18. Mr. Klink and others involved ran from the fight after Mr. Brazell was hit in the head, Assistant State’s Attorney Susan Weinstein said. Out of two dozen young people in the fight, nobody called for help, she said.

Mr. Klink was arrested Sunday night at an Ellicott City gas station.

The arranged fight took place at 12:30 a.m. Saturday between two dozen young persons who had an ongoing dispute, police said.


Escaped inmate charged in robberies

An inmate at the Carroll County Detention Center who walked away from a drug treatment center last month has been arrested and charged with robbing two persons at a shopping center.

Sean Joseph O’Brien, 21, escaped through an unlocked door at the Guadenzia Treatment Center in Baltimore on Jan. 18 when deputies arrived to return him to the jail for violating program regulations, authorities said.

Westminster police arrested O’Brien on Sunday night in the parking lot of the College Square Shopping Center and charged him with brandishing a BB gun and robbing two persons. He took $5 from one victim and was arrested by police while in the process of robbing the second, charging documents say.

O’Brien has been convicted in the past for escape, burglary, theft and drunken driving, according to court records.


Juvenile Justice must explain placements

The Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice has been asked to explain why it was holding 46 youths at a residential program for juvenile offenders when it determined — after a youth died — that they could be released to the community.

An analyst for the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, Simon Powell, told lawmakers yesterday that he thinks the youths would still be at Bowling Brook Preparatory School if Isaiah Simmons, 17, hadn’t died in a struggle with staff members.

Mr. Powell conducted a review of the youths’ placements after the teenager died last month. Bowling Brook is a private school in Carroll County under contract with the state.

Mr. Powell found that 46 of the 66 youths, or 70 percent, were recommended for placement at home after the incident. Most of them required aftercare services, but some were simply released. Twenty of the youths were recommended for subsequent residential placement.


Ewe’s missing head mysteriously returned

Animal Control officers in Frederick County still don’t know who decapitated a 3-year-old sheep more than three weeks ago — but they said that, in a morbid twist in the investigation, the missing head was mysteriously returned to the farm last week.

The sheep was found dead by its owner Feb. 3. The animal had been removed from a pen she shared with her 1-week-old lamb. Her leg also had been removed. It has not been found.

Meanwhile, the reward fund for information that solves the case has grown to $3,000.



Feds test water at illegal dump

Federal cleanup crews are trying to determine whether groundwater has been contaminated at an illegal chemical dump on the Northern Neck that contains at least 1,000 deteriorating drums leaking tar and toxic substances.

The rusting drums likely hold heavy oil removed from the Chesapeake Bay shoreline after a spill in 1976, officials said. The chemicals in the barrels include benzopyrene, a potential carcinogen found in petroleum products, said David Sternberg, a spokesman for the Environ-mental Protection Agency.

The EPA is trying to determine how the drums ended up on the site and has budgeted $2 million to remove the drums and contaminated soil and take other measures to restore the wooded area, Mr. Sternberg said. About 40 homes are within a mile of the dump off Route 605 in Lancaster County, and many of them use groundwater wells.

The EPA learned of the dump after a hunter came upon the drums last fall.

EPA contractors began working at the site two weeks ago and installed nine wells that will provide groundwater for testing, Mr. Sternberg said. Test results are expected in two weeks.


Trial under way in officer’s slaying

Opening arguments began in Arlington yesterday in the capital murder trial of a man accused of killing a Norfolk police officer.

Jury selection was completed Monday in the trial of Thomas Porter, 31, who is charged in the shooting death of Officer Stanley Reaves.

The trial was moved to Arlington because of extensive news coverage of the case in Hampton Roads.

Mr. Porter could face the death penalty if he’s convicted of capital murder.

Officer Reaves was fatally shot in October 2005 as he investigated a report of a man with a gun.

Mr. Porter was arrested six days later in White Plains, N.Y.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys said the trial would last two or three weeks.


Couple held daughters captive, officials say

A couple face cruelty charges for holding their two teenage daughters captive for months at a time by nailing shut their bedroom windows and reversing the door locks, Augusta County authorities said.

Steven Tomlin, 35, and Heather Tomlin, 27, were arrested Friday after sheriff’s deputies responded to a call from a friend of the couple’s 15-year-old daughter and found two barren bedrooms, each with only a box spring, mattress and a portable camping toilet, Capt. Dwight Wood said.

“The gravity of the conditions there could only be appreciated by the officers that were there,” Lt. Glenn Hanger said.

The Tomlins were charged with two counts each of cruelty and injury to a child. They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Mrs. Tomlin is the teens’ stepmother.

Authorities said the girls were kept in the rooms as punishment. The 15-year-old told investigators that she had been held in her room for 100 days at one point. Lt. Hanger said the 16-year-old was held for 128 days beginning in January 2006.

The teens were allowed to go to school, but returned to their rooms when they returned home, authorities said. They have been placed in the care of a relative.

Chuck Patton told the News Leader of Staunton that the Tomlins moved across the street from him within the past year. He said he had never seen the girls.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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